Man who fatally beat Menifee shoe collector convicted of 2nd-degree murder

Justin Charles Smith (left) was convicted Wednesday, May 11, 2016 of second-degree murder in the beating death of Darlene Flynn (right).

A man was convicted of second-degree murder Wednesday for fatally beating his ex-girlfriend, a world-renowned footwear collector, in the backyard swimming pool of her Menifee home.

The jury verdict came on the second day of deliberations in Justin Charles Smith's trial in the 2013 death of 58-year-old Darlene Flynn, also known as "The Shoe Lady" or "Queen of Sole," at her single-story ranch home in the 28800 block of Stone Lane.

Smith, 32, maintained he did not intend to kill Flynn and was not in control of himself when he struck her four to six times in the head and face with a baseball bat.

A recording revealed that Smith and Flynn had gotten into an argument the day before about his failure to repay her $50 for fueling his pickup truck to help a friend move.

The victim's collection of over 16,000 shoes and shoe-related products landed her in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006.

Smith will be sentenced on July 8. He faces up to 26 years in prison.

City News Service contributed to this report
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